tv [untitled] April 13, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
that's -- we cannot again this is why part of our problem does not include creating more jobs in the public sector. we actually want to restrict that and hopefully with time reverse that trend and start creating value addition jobs and move huge part of that public sector into the private sector and cooperative sectors through these measures. why we include the empowerment of the civil society, because we need a much stronger civil society to serve the mechanisms of checks and balances on the government because it's not, by the way, it's not just about a party taking over. i'm sure we all you have this experience. it's about the institution of the government and the institution of the government can very easily defeat the program unless you institute the checks and balances that would put enough pressure on the governing bureaucracy and start reversing the trend of this
widespread corruption. you asked the question of corruption. corruption, i guess, in egypt is a very interesting one. i'll get to this in just a minute. the fourth pillar of the strategy is to integrate egypt in the global economy on more favorable terms. by that i mean, we looked at the strength of egypt, the competitive advantage of the nation, if you will. and we looked at the practices of the previous government and how they articulated the strength of egypt. i think they articulated the strength of egypt basically in terms of location, in terms of it being a country in which it's easy to go and institute polluting industries and so on and so forth. we identify the strength of the egyptian economy, the competitive advantage in the workforce. egyptians have very large relatively disciplined
homogenous workforce. it's definitely underutilized. i agree 100% the revolution was not about bread but a huge part of it was about apathy. it's just about millions upon millions of youth who have been looked at by the previous regime not as assets, not as resources, not as advantages, but actually as a burden. and we would like to reverse that and by giving more access to these millions of egyptians, we aim at increasing the competitiveness of the egyptian economy. and one way, of course, of doing that is to redefine what we call evaluating industries as those that are associated with the elevation in the capacity of the workforce. so whatever industry is going to add to the capacity of the work
force to, number one, produce, number two join the knowledge economy at much more favorable terms is to us a value adding industry and hence, we're looking very closely now at things like the i.t., medical i.t., new energy and so on and so forth in an decision to the tradition industry. we would like to achieve four objectives. one objective is clear which is broaden the demand base of the economy. the second is to create more -- a fairer distribution system in the economy. and we don't want to do that through regulating it centrally because that would not work. we would like to do it by stimulating the economy. when we stimulate the economy, improve the checks and balances in the system, give more access, then hopefully we'll get a better distribution of income and wealth. the third objective is we would like to get, and this is really huge, anyone who knows egypt or read the history of it knows how hard this is, but this is part
of what we think the legacy, if you will, of our party should be given where we come from. we would like with this restriction of the government to redefine the relationship between the state and the population, the state and the society in egypt. as you know, egypt is one of the few societies that were born with the state. it did not start with people who went farming and so on and then decided to have some sort of a central system. it started with the central system. so egyptians' relations to their state is so unique. it's sort of a hate/depend kind of a relationship. you know what i mean? you go to an egyptian and usually by the end of the day, he will have cursed his government two or three times. but then you go and say, by the way, the government needs to trim itself down a little bit and let's say rationalize the subsidy and people will go in riots in the streets. in other words, people are still so much connected to this government.
we would like to change that with time and change the concept of the government and the state from that of a controlling one to one that's empowering and hence, really latching on the potential of the egyptian society, not just the economy in ways that are very consistent with the values of the revolution. the freedom, the dignity and so on, these things will not come, by the way, if people are still occupied within their own minds with a perspective of a state being the pharoah kind of thing. and finally the fourth objective is to increase the competitiveness of the egyptian economy. in terms of programs, we're looking at three streams in order to kick off the strategy. the first stream was looking at trying to attract foreign direct investment to egypt, but not in sort of a sentimental way of let's come and save egypt kind of thing.
we're trying to come up with in the next couple of years with between 50 and 100 very sound projects, projects that have very good business plans behind them, financial plans and so on in a number of select industries. this is what we're working on now, trying to look at what industries would qualify to host these megaprojects. each one of these projects we hope will require and attract investment of around $1 billion. which should mean we're pumping into the economy in the next couple of years between 50 and $100 billion. we're looking at two kinds of industries. some in which egypt is already strong, but these industries are suffering now like tourism, like textile and so on. but also we're looking at another stream which is the industries that we believe with the workforce we have in egypt we can excel and excel very quickly so we're looking at i.t. and energy and so forth. the second stream to create jobs, we're looking at a very
ambitious small and medium enterprise campaign to be launched immediately as we take over. the bad news is egypt has already tried that. it's not, you know, a great thought that we came up with. we actually know that small and medium enterprise campaigns have been done in egypt before, and the problem was not with the finance. the problem was with the way it was managed. small and medium enterprise is a complex undertaking. it requires a system in place, a system not just to finance but a system to educate, to train, to integrate, and of course, to finance and to look at the social, economic picture of what's going on on the ground so that people can actually repay the loans they get, can have a success rate on the projects they do and so on and so forth. we are hoping that by being a grassroot movement, that we'll probably have better luck with
designing and executing a small and medium enterprise campaign in egypt. the third stream we're looking at is similar to what i think our brothers in tunisia are looking at which is an infrastructure kind of a program we will probably do a massive government spending in infrastructure and we'll go through the same process of identifying what kinds of infrastructure would probably help in egypt. we're looking at sort of a highway kind of a project amongst a number of other possibilities. these are the three streams we're looking at in terms of programs. in the shorter term though, we have very serious challenges. we have a liquidity issues and we're working with imf to grant the loan and we have, i don't know if this is the time to talk about. we have a political issue not an economic or fiscal issue that's hindering the loan and we hope to resolve very soon. we have an interim government that is probably going to take
the money and spend it and then we have an elected government that will come in place a few months later and be responsible for repaying it. we're not sure if this is the right formula. so we're working on that. the imf loan, by the way, is not just important in its own right in terms of the money it provides to egypt which is very important, but it's very important in terms of integrating the new government of egypt in the global financial institution at a very responsible kind of a deal and opening the door for more deals with other countries. in the short term, if you look at the numbers, there is no escape. the egyptian economy will need a lot of boost from outside. and this will not happen unless there is a responsible government in place that is going to spend the money wisely and is going to repay it on time. the second challenge we have is the huge expectations. we have people in egypt now who think that with the revolution
and with the coming of the freedom and justice party to power, all government temp workers should become permanent. everybody who used to have a certain income needs to go to a higher income and so on. these are very, very dangerous expectations at a time like this. so our your second challenge is to be extremely open, transparent, frank with the people and also go to them with a plan. we don't just want to go to people and say, you know, it's a very dire situation. we want to say it is a dire situation, but here's a plan, stick to us. let's work together and so on. we have a challenge of removing obstacles from local and international investments. there is no need for the kinds of bureaucratic complications that we have now. we can deal with that. and we also need to do score on a number of quick wins. we have a team in the party working on something we call the first 100 days.
we're trying to make sure that the very first few months of the working of this government will mean some tangible benefits for people. things that not require necessarily a lot of money and stuff like that. we're looking at some of the basic services. has any of you ever driven a car in cairo? you know what i mean. that's a huge -- you know, thomas friedman visited cairo in the midst of the debate. we call it aura. he came in the office. an hour later he sweating and he said in a broken arabic -- [ speaking foreign language ] i think the guy was right. so these are the kinds of things we're facing in the short term. there are two conditions. and that's my final remark. there are two conditions for this program to work. and we're not kidding ourselves about it and we're not being naive.
this is the kind of program that will not succeed because the party -- is it time to go? >> no. >> there are two conditions. the first condition is one of ownership. if we cannot get very significant segments of the egyptian institutions and egyptian society to own this this is why is we're appealing to the private sector to look at the situation favorably. to come and shoulder the enormous task because this is not the enormous task of the party. this is the enormous task of the revolution, the people.
so on the one hand, we want partnership -- i mean ownership. on the other hand, we need a lot of partnership outside of egypt with global institutions, with groups of investors, with multinationals, and we're working on that, as well. if we will succeed in securing these two conditions, then this plan or strategy has a chance. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> i have to say that you know, you've now had you really very clear three plans laid out. and, of course, now it would be good to get some questions. i would encourage people to also be a little bit provocative in their questions because i'm sure people who have laid out the plans want to hear are the kinds of issues that are on your mind so that they can be implemented. as before, i would encourage you to identify yourself when you speak. so i'm going to go right to the
back about the lady over there first and then i'm going to take three or four questions and then have answers to those. please. >> thank you for taking my question. my name is suzanne. i was very impressed by each of you approaching the subject of the infrastructure. you have different depths and different ambitions. both tunisia and egypt it appears that you are in a dialogue to figure out priorities which sounds laudable. however, as a veteran of the industry, i'm cautioning you that if you don't have a master plan or if you don't look holistically, especially at the transportation infrastructure, you will end up with a hodgepodge that it will be very difficult to fix later. so that's a comment. my question though is, how do you plan on letting contracts for major infrastructure projects? and candidly, candidly, how
welcome are u.s. firms coming in to help with work with you as opposed to a construction engineering firm coming from other parts of the world? candidly, please. thank you. >> thank you very much. i will come to your question. i want to go to this side now. the gentleman, yeah. >> thank you. and thank you for the carnegie corporation. i have a question for egypt and a question for the three of you. for egypt, would you consider or agree to transfer the military aid that goes to buy airplanes and tanks, et cetera, to the economic and development and aid. the amount may not be great but the symbolism is valuable and it would be helpful in building hospitals and schools. the other question for the three panelists, i didn't hear the
word education in any of the plans. now, it seems critical, especially technical education and developmental and the kind of background for investment for the future. >> okay. >> thank you. i now have the lady in the front here. thank you. >> just to follow up on the question about military, speaking of favoritism, will you be able to get the military out of the economy and also could -- speaking to the egyptian panelists and also, how can you revive the tourist industry? will there be a political problem, especially with salafi members in parliament? will this scare the industry off? what are your plans for handling that touchy problem? >> and i'll take one more question and then i'll come -- >> thank you. georgetown university.
my question is to mr. el kazzaz. true you needed to have the ownership from the whole society. certainly for the current businessmen benefitted from the old system and don't share the same political views. my question is how will you try to convince them knowing that some of them are liberals and don't want to even participate with you in the writing of the constitution? how will you overcome this challenge? >> great. so we have some questions. what i would like to do, there are some specific questions for egypt. so i'll come to egypt at the end. but there were two more general questions which applied to everyone. one was the issue of education and the other was a question of how will you let out contracts candidly. so maybe i'll start where mondher on that. >> yes, the first question is easy to answer. infrastructure projects will be tendered through public tendering in a transparent
fashion. whether you are a french, u.s., saudi firm, you have exactly the same chances as the any other firm. other u.s. firms have visited tunisia, and we have been talking to them and exposing to the different opportunities that exist and i think they have good chances to win. they don't need favored treatment. they have good technology, good know how and tunisia can benefit from that. the second question regarding education is a very important one. i talked about the program on job training, which is one important program destined to fix some of the problems we have of with our education problem. but you're right, one of the 13 projects i said that there are 13 structure reform projects is about education in general.
education has been very important in tunisia. we have a high literacy rate. we have a good education program. we have 500,000 students in the university system today, which is 5% of the population approximately. as a matter of fact, we want to turn our problems into an opportunity because today, we're graduating approximately 70,000 new graduates every year. and we have a problem with employing people with college degrees. we have 200,000 people who have college degrees and do not find jobs for them. and that's a very, very painful situation for us. so the reform of the education system is a very important issue and thank you for mentioning it. but it is mentioned in the program. it's one of the 13 programs where we're going to undergo massive restructuring program.
one last point regarding education is that we are conscious that anything that touches education is medium and long-term. so it's not something we will be able to do in one year. but there are many things that we will start in this government and that will be carried later on by future governments. >> i just want to say that i know that marwan is sitting in the second row and he's passionate about the need to really rethink the whole basis for education systems in the whole of the region, not simply in terms of structure, but in terms of how they approach learning and teaching because it's an interesting phenomenon that in this region, the more education you have, the harder it becomes for you to get a job, which is sort of actually the opposite of what you see in other regions. so i'm very glad, and i think marwan wants to make a two-handed intervention before i
turn to nael on this. >> thanks for giving me the opportunity, masood, but my answer -- >> marwan. >> my concern with all the education reform efforts in the arab world including what i've heard so far from you is that they are concentrating on the engineering aspects, the technical aspects of the problem. trying to increase, you know, scores in math and sciences, trying to build more schools, et cetera. what we don't hear enough about is the value system. are we teaching our students to criticize, to question, to treat, you know, truths as relative rather than absolute? are they being taught scientific reasoning? these are all issues that if they are in the old systems taught how to do that, you know, the fear was that they would then be able to criticize their
own governments whether secular or religious and that is why they have not been taught that. is there a realization that in today's world, unless you teach people the elements and the value of diversity and tolerance and acceptance of different points of views and accepting that what you are being taught in class is not necessarily the truth, is there a realization in all of our countries that unless we do that, we're not going to produce productive economies, we're not going to solve the unemployment program? or are we still talking about investment in the technical aspects, in the engineering aspects but not in the value system? >> thank you. mondher, did you want to respond to that? >> yes. thank you for making the point that's a very important point. now, there are like just like in the economy we're facing special circumstances today.
we're not in a country sitting where we can have the luxury to plan and do everything at ease. we come out of the revolution with very specific short-term demands. and a long-term society project. have two tracks, a sustainable track and a short-term urgent track in education, we will have to do the same thing. there are students today who have degrees, and it's too late for us at least to think of programs such as you've been described. because these kinds of things start from the primary school, the secondary school. we have 500,000 students in the university system already. they'll be graduating soon. so our worry, to be frank with you, and to be practical, is to find ways to give them employability to try to improve
their skills so that it meets the demands of the job market. now, we have in tunisia in our, of course, if you make a revolution, you have to build a new society based on new values of democracy, transparency, criticism, critical thinking, that's what will make better citizens, not just better employees and we are talking about that, and that we will do just like in the constitution in the context of a consensus and general discussion because we don't want to indoctrinate also a model of society in the educational system. we want to engage a global discussion that where islamists, secularists, all components of society will come in and discuss about the kind of educational system we would like to do. so the short-term programs for
education will include these technical programs and means in order to improve employability. the long-term programs will have to go on the basis you just described. >> nael. >> i think actually in jordan we have a good experience in investment in education. although taking into consideration what dr. marwan said but in jordan, we don't have oil or gas. we have -- we have manpower. we have in jordan 25 universities. 30% of the students are from abroad, from the gulf countries mainly, and the manpower wanted in the gulf countries mainly. and thousands of jordanians
after graduated, they go to gulf countries to work. but i think it's still the problem of skills and training. and to direct the education toward a special program to build a special skills wanted inside the country and outside the country i think this is a good opportunity for the -- these countries to invest really in education. >> you had the general point and then there were also what about the role of the military, military aid versus development aid? how can you convince everyone and can you do tourism with the salafi party as well as your partners? easy questions. >> if i may say something personal number one about education, the only investment that i personally have ever done in my life is in an education
institution in egypt. my wife and myself have a school. and i'm just saying that to say that the whole idea of a different model of education is so vital. we went out and spent three years researching here in the u.s. and the uk and we came up with something we called the creative curriculum and so on and i can give some details. and i cannot agree with you more. and when we provided the service to kids in egypt, the demand was amazing. it's -- i don't think we need to wait for very long to actually rethink the whole modeling of education in our countries because there are already things done out there. there are different debates. there are models that have been tried. there are school institutions. we have associations that are helping us, training our teachers and so on and so forth. so my thinking is hopefully in
egypt, we will go with this at the faster track because the education system in egypt is just in an amazing need for reform and development at all levels, but i think the whole modeling thing is very much aligned with a statement we put out in the party that's not yet very famous. we put out a statement called the renaissance program. and we, of course, took -- and again another personal note. i think we are all indebted to tunis in particular, and i am personally a student. so maybe we will internalize that affiliation, yani. we have a lot to learn from our tunisian brothers. in that statement, the renaissance project, we actually state very clearly that we need to rethink key models behind
education and a number of other endeavors. and just education, health, security and so on, we need to rethink the modeling, not just build institutions along the same or modeling after the same old model. so i couldn't agree with you more. and thank you very much. now to the easy questions. getting the military out of the economy in egypt, i don't think we do that by colliding with the military. we do that gradually. and this has been actually the subject of negotiations with military. the military has' certain percentage of the economy that differs depending on how you look at it. if you look at the assets they hold, the real estate lands and so on and so forth, it's a bit larger than if look at it from a productive gdp kind of perspective. till it is significant. what we would like to do is actually expand the civil part of the economy large enough so that that percentage gets smaller. and with time rethinking the